The latest mass market, expedition and luxury cruise ships are offering spectacular entertainment, new activities and innovative products for every taste.
Cruise ships of all types are increasingly trying to differentiate themselves from rivals with a range of innovations as the ocean cruise market continues to grow and competition intensifies.
Eye-catching attractions are the name of the game among the mass market cruise operators. Bungee trampolining with a virtual reality headset, the North Star viewing cabin, the Flow Rider surfing simulator and the glass-windowed skydiving simulator Rip Cord are the big highlights of the new Spectrum of the Seas and the Odyssey of the Seas (launching in 2020) from Royal Caribbean International. Alternatively, passengers can cycle 45 metres across the ocean in the pedal-powered Skyride hanging cabin on the Carnival Panorama.
Technology is trump in MSC’s new Meraviglia Plus class where guests can communicate with and get information from a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence. The Celebrity Apex, the second ship of the luxurious new Edge class from Celebrity Cruises features a Magic Carpet, a moveable platform that can be used as a restaurant, bar, stage or even docking-point for tender boats.
Another trend is the increase in expedition ships that offer trips to exotic and hard-to-reach distant destinations. Celebrity Cruises and Nicko Cruises both have new ships on the market, the three new luxury liners from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises offer five-star comfort, and French company Ponant already has four of its six new Explorer series sailing the high seas. Meanwhile, Hurtigruten claims to be the first company in this segment to operate ships with hybrid motors.
Luxury ships, of course, are not limited to expedition trips. The Seven Seas Splendor, a sister ship of the Seven Seas Explorer, will depart on its first trip in February 2020. This will be the first brand-new cruise ship with a female captain, according to the company.
One example of the ‘size is not everything’ trend is the Spirit of Discovery, the first new-build cruise ship of British company Saga Cruises, which is designed for just under 1,000 passengers. Another new vessel, and much smaller, is the Lady Diletta, a river cruise boat with space for just 172 passengers.
Check our ‘top ten’ gallery of product innovations on new cruise ships.